Thanksgiving is just eight days away and that means it’s time to get serious about preparing. If you haven’t picked out your bird yet, you might want to go and do that before this weekend. Also, if you’ve got your side items selected or, if like many others, you’re doing potluck, then once you have your big, beautiful turkey, there is only one decision left to make:
Do you want to fry it or roast it?
Please be advised that if you decide to fry it, you will still need to thaw it, first. Some friends and I made this mistake in college once we discovered we had forgotten to take the turkey out of the freezer the night before. Figuring that frying it would cause it to thaw (and that the melting water would keep it from drying out), we heated the deep fryer up to Ridiculous Heat and let the iceball bird dive in. It remained in the hot oil for about ten seconds before the ice flashed to steam and the normally-flightless turkey took to the air in a ballistic arc, landing in the nearby swimming pool.
Also, if you do decide to go with frying, please be careful with the hot oil! Don’t overheat it, avoid splashing it when you put the turkey in, and don’t overfill the basin.
Regardless of whether you fry or roast this year, we’ve got a recipe for you!
Erick’s Deep Fried Rosemary Turkey
1 (12 pound) whole turkey, neck and giblets removed
1/2 cup minced garlic
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
3 gallons peanut oil for frying
3 sprigs fresh rosemary
12 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 cup chopped fresh ginger root
Fill an outdoor deep-fryer with the peanut oil (see tip below), and heat to 325 degrees F (160 degrees C). This will take about 30 minutes.
Rub the turkey with minced garlic, salt and pepper on the inside and outside. Fill the cavity with rosemary, garlic cloves and ginger. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to marinate.
Remove the herbs and garlic from the cavity of the bird, and discard. Make sure the opening at the neck of the turkey is at least 2 inches wide. Trim skin back if necessary. This will prevent pressure from building inside. If the turkey has a pop-up doneness indicator, it must be removed beforehand.
Place the turkey in the fryer basket, or hanging device, and slowly lower it into the hot oil. Be sure to maintain the temperature of the oil while it is frying. Cook for 3 1/2 minutes per pound, or until the internal temperature is at 180 degrees F (82 degrees C) when taken in the thickest part of the thigh.
Carefully remove the turkey from the hot oil, and turn off the deep-fryer. Let the bird cool for 5 minutes, then pat dry.
Perfect Roast Turkey
1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 fresh turkey (10 to 12 pounds)
Freshly ground black pepper
1 large bunch fresh thyme
1 whole lemon, halved
1 Spanish onion, quartered
1 head garlic, halved crosswise
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Add the zest and juice of the lemon and 1 teaspoon of thyme leaves to the butter mixture. Set aside.
Take the giblets out of the turkey and wash the turkey inside and out. Remove any excess fat and leftover pinfeathers and pat the outside dry. Place the turkey in a large roasting pan. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the turkey cavity. Stuff the cavity with the bunch of thyme, halved lemon, quartered onion, and the garlic. Brush the outside of the turkey with the butter mixture and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Tie the legs together with string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the turkey.
Roast the turkey about 2 1/2 hours, or until the juices run clear when you cut between the leg and the thigh. Remove the turkey to a cutting board and cover with aluminum foil; let rest for 20 minutes.
Slice the turkey and serve.